RV PRO

June '21

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74 • RV PRO • June 2021 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T I t's like being a bear in a salmon run, isn't it? I certainly never thought we would be in a market where the main concern is the ability of the OEMs to supply dealers with inventory. Dealer sales lots are as clean as they have ever been. Great times! And the icing on the proverbial cake is that we have an influx of new, first-time customers. I see that as both a huge opportunity and as a threat. The opportunity an expanding market brings is obvious. The concerns raised by my perceived threat is a bit more subtle. One of two elements to that concern is that we aren't selling to the first-timers in an appropriate way. The second element has to do with creating and meeting expectations in the minds of the new RVers. While the sales process itself has remained virtually unchanged since time immemo- rial, the way you sell to a first-time RVer is quite different from selling to someone who already owns an RV and enjoys the RV experience. It's the difference between selling the experience or the equipment. If you are selling the experience, you will talk about the thrill and the experience. You will work to overcome the fears and objec- tions, but you must be aware that they are a different set of objections if the prospect hasn't been RVing. When you sell the equipment, you respond to technical questions more about what features and benefits distinguish the construction or components. The typical first-timer isn't technically competent enough at this point to care about those things. The reason that anyone develops an interest in the RV lifestyle is to enjoy the freedoms of the road. It certainly harkens back to the times when many of us went camping as kids and we could smell the bacon on the open fire in the morning. There is an old sales adage that says you must sell the sizzle – not the steak. That old saying is never truer than when you have a first-time buyer as a prospect. They want to hear about where they can go. They want to understand what they can see. Often, they need to hear about the experience of bonding with the family and First-Time RVers: Perils and Promise This latest wave of RV sales is from first-time buyers. How dealers handle these RVers will have a huge impact on customer retention moving forward. By Chuck Marzahn Chuck Marzahn moderates virtual 20 Groups for RV dealers in the U.S. and Canada. He can be reached for comment and questions at Chuck@RV-VDG.com.

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